Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Things are changing down at "the City"...

Since my last post, Paul Trollope has been dismissed as Cardiff City manager and has been replaced by the vastly experienced Neil Warnock.  Slowly but surely performances have improved and the club has begun climbing up the table over the last few months.

At one point City were rock bottom of the Championship and looking like certainties for relegation to League One.  Whilst City are 18th and only 6 points away from the relegation zone, Saturday's dramatic 3-2 Severnside derby victory against Bristol City has shown a new found resilience that the team didn't have earlier in the season.  Players who struggled to find form such as Aron Gunnarsson, Bruno Ecuele Manga and Kenneth Zohore have started to excel in a playing system that suits the strengths of our playing squad.  The mood around the camp seems to be more optimistic as the club is being run on a sound financial footing (partly due to necessity as a result of FIFA's financial fairplay rules) but the club is starting to feel more like the Cardiff City Football Club that we have known and loved for years.  The football on offer is generally more entertaining and worth watching after the last few years of Russell Slade's borefests and the excitement and expectancy of waiting for the next game is back.  Neil Warnock has played a big part in organising the team and in turning the team around. Hopefully the foundations for future success can be laid this season and a genuine promotion push can happen next season.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Goodbye Mr T, but it was time for you to go...

After Cardiff City's worst start to a season since 2005, it has come as no surprise that the club have parted company with Head Coach Paul Trollope today.  A dismal run that started with the team being knocked out of the EFL Cup by League One side Bristol Rovers and after only two league wins out of their first eleven games has seen City plummet to 23rd position in the Championship table.  The mood amongst supporters is pessimistic to say the least, but many have commented that Paul Trollope was a nice guy, who was simply out of his depth.

The experienced former Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has emerged as the bookies favourite to take over and he would be the ideal candidate for the job.  The question is would be want to work with Vincent Tan?

Monday, 23 May 2016

Bye bye, "Big Ben"......

After 5 years service for the club, it has been announced today that Ben Turner will be leaving Cardiff City once his contract expires at the end of June.  He is one of 5 senior players being released by the club today alongside Kenwyne Jones, Joe Lewis, Filip Kiss and Etien Velikonja.

Turner (pictured left) will be remembered for his excellent and wholehearted performances for the club including his equaliser against Liverpool in the 2012 Carling Cup Final.  Today's picture captures the moment when he removed his shirt and twirled it around his head after scoring this goal.  The following season he formed a solid central defensive partnership with Mark Hudson and helped the club to win the Championship League title in 2013.  Unfortunately over recent seasons Ben has suffered from a series of injuries which has resulted in him not being offered a new deal by the club.  Birmingham City and his former club Coventry City are two clubs who have expressed interest in securing his services and I really hope that one of them signs him up.  It is sad to see him go, but thanks for the great memories Ben. You will always be a Bluebird to us.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

More cost cutting at CCS....

During the Malky Mackay and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer eras, Cardiff City FC spent a vast amount on buying new players.  Bankrolled by owner Vincent Tan the likes of Steven Caulker, Gary Medel and the highly unsuccessful Andreas Cornelius all arrived during the clubs single season in the Premier League in 2013-14.  One of the strangest arrivals the season prior to that however was Etien Velikonja (pictured left).

Incredibly Velikonja signed a four year deal with the club but has rarely played first team football for us.  Rumours of him being a "Vincent Tan" signing during the Mackay era could be plausible as he has spent most of the last few seasons on loan to clubs in Europe.  Last season he scored 21 goals in 23 appearances for FC Lierse and with his contract due to expire this summer it would be a big surprise if the club retain his services.

Following the appointment of new Head Coach Paul Trollope yesterday, the club is due to announce its retained list next week.  Fringe players such as Filip Kiss, Ben Turner and Velikonja are likely to be released when their contracts expire in July.  Other players such as Eoin Doyle, Adam Le Fondre and Tom Adeyemi could be sold or loaned out again and the likes of Bruno Ecuele Manga and David Marshall are sure to attract attention from a host of Premier League clubs.  Cost cutting has been promised again this season as City look to balance the books and attempt to become more profitable. It is likely that more players will have to leave to free up the resources to bring in the new players that Paul Trollope wants to add to the squad.  There is also the possibility that we may see more players come through the ranks from the youth academy system.  Over the years this system has given us the likes of Aaron Ramsay, Joe Ledley, Robert Earnshaw and James Collins who have all gone on to play at the highest level for both club and country.  Hopefully we can add the likes of Declan John, Deji Oshilaja and Tommy O'Sullivan to that list this year.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Following the management restructure at Cardiff City, former assistant manager Paul Trollope (pictured left) has just been appointed as Head Coach.  Whilst not coming as a huge surprise it is perhaps a logical step by the club.  His appointment will bring stability and continuity to the existing playing squad, but some supporters were hoping for a more established manager to be appointed instead.  He has already been unfairly criticised for being part of former manager Russell Slade's team and this is before a ball has been even kicked for next season.  The club has also been accused of lacking ambition.

My view on the subject is that he must be given a chance to show us what he can do.  I remember when he was manager at my local team Bristol Rovers, where he led them to promotion to League One.  Following his departure they went into a rapid decline and they have only just got back to League One this season.  Some of my friends who are "Gasheads" still speak fondly of him and of his time in Bristol.  I remember walking past him at a pub in Long Ashton a few years ago, but I digress.  I am hoping that he will bring a fresh approach to the team, new ideas and build a team that can challenge for and reach the play offs.  It will be a tough challenge especially with Aston Villa, Norwich City and Newcastle United being relegated to the Championship.  However, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is proof that an internal appointment can work.  He has excelled as a player and as a manager resulting in AFC Bournemouth being a  Premier League team this season.  Hopefully Paul Trollope can have a similar impact with the City.

Monday, 16 May 2016

The G-man....

Over recent years I have become a big fan of the late Rory Gallagher (pictured right with Gerry McAvoy (left) and Ted McKenna (centre)).  I first discovered his music when Tommy Vance played the track "Walkin' Wounded" from his then brand new album called "Fresh Evidence".  I received that album when I was 14 or 15 and then I didn't really explore the rest of his albums until much later.  I remember taping a concert from 1987 called "Live at Cork" when it was broadcast on Channel 4 in the early 1990's and I really enjoyed it.

However, it was only when Rory sadly passed away in 1995 that I began to delve into his extensive back catalogue of albums.  Guitar Techniques magazine ran a feature called the "A to Z of great riffs" and one month it was devoted to Rory Gallagher.  I learnt some of his best riffs including some from his time as band leader in the excellent blues power trio called Taste.  I then received a DVD featuring clips from "The Old Grey Whistle Test" and it included a performance of "Hands Off" featuring his then classic band of Gerry McAvoy (bass) , Lou Martin (keyboards) and Rod De'Ath (Drums).  This track blew me away and I then began the process of collecting his entire remastered solo back catalogue.  One of my favourite albums is "Photo Finish" featuring the above pictured line up of Rory, Gerry McAvoy and Ted Mckenna.  They also recorded another great album in "Top Priority" and I am also one of the few fans who loves listening to the unfairly panned "Stagestruck" live album.  Since Rory's untimely death, his brother and former manager Donal Gallagher has released a number of quality additional albums including "Wheels on wheels" (an acoustic album) and the binned album from 1977 called "Notes from San Francisco".  Rory didn't like this album and dropped it in the bin (literally) much to the annoyance of his brother who had been due to take the album to record company executives the following day.  Rory later said that he would like to release it one day once it had been mixed properly.  His nephew duly did this many years later for his uncle and it is a great addition to his album discography.  One thing that always grabs me about Rory is whether he was recording an album or performing live he always put 110% into what he did.  He could have been more famous, had hit records, joined The Rolling Stones and been a superstar, but he chose to stick to what he wanted to do instead.  His gritty and authentic music is truly unique and yet it is sad that he is no longer with us.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The first of many, we hope....

Following on from Cardiff City's release from their transfer embargo, I have to admit that I am pleased as punch with our first new signing of the summer.  Lex Immers has today completed a permanent deal to join the club from Feyenoord and after his excellent performances and 5 goals during last seasons loan spell, I believe that City have signed a gem.

When he originally signed on loan for the club in January,  I hadn't heard of him before.  However, he quickly became a fans favourite with his attacking play and goalscoring.  Hopefully his signing is a message of intent and a sign of some ambition being shown by the club.   There is a need for more quality signings to be added to the squad, which in turn will hopefully be followed by a strong push for promotion to the Premier League next season.  The next key step for the club is to make sure that they make a wise appointment of a new Head Coach.  The right appointment could entice the stay away fans to return and I really hope that the club can continue to heal its relationship with our fractured fanbase.  Whilst the club has gone some way to improve this, the effects of the imposed red rebrand has still left a bitter aftertaste with some supporters despite the change back to blue.